RTÉ set to lose €21m in licence fee revenueMike Finnerty 06 Sep 2023
The hits keep on coming for RTÉ.
The beleaguered state broadcaster is projected to lose €21 million in lost licence fee revenue for 2023, in figures shown to Cabinet by Minister for Media Catherine Martin.
Prior to the explosive revelations at RTÉ in June, former director general Dee Forbes had already sought €34 million in interim funding for RTÉ as it was facing financial difficulties and had undergone a round of redundancies.
Forbes had considered selling part of RTÉ’s Donnybrook campus as a way of balancing the books.
Martin said the Government wants to see “absolute concrete reform at RTÉ” in order to rebuild trust, adding that reform was already underway.
She said that she could not say just yet how much funding the Government was prepared to allocate to RTÉ, in order to make up for the decline in people paying their TV licence.
Figures from July and August showed a sharp drop-off in people paying the licence fee in the wake of the RTÉ scandal, but An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has encouraged people to still pay the licence fee.
Speaking in August, Varadkar said that any further State funding of RTÉ would come with conditions attached.
“We’ve had periods before where Government had to provide additional finance to the banks, had to provide additional finance to sporting bodies that got into financial trouble, had to provide additional finance time to An Post, for example,” he said at the time.
“On all occasions, there were terms and conditions and expectations attached to that.”
In recent weeks, People Before Profit have proposed scrapping the licence fee altogether, and making RTÉ entirely ad-free, paid for by a tax on major tech companies.